Romano names ‘most likely’ Man Utd signing and confirms Red Devils could buy two centre-backs

Joe Williams
Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag reportedly wants to sign Matthijs de Ligt.
Erik ten Hag wants to reunite with De Ligt at Man Utd.

Man Utd could sign two new centre-backs this summer with Matthijs de Ligt the “most likely” to arrive, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

The Red Devils are looking to improve the spine of their side with most rumours linking them with centre-backs, central midfielders and strikers.

They had a £35m bid turned down for Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite last month with the Toffees’ asking price of £70m proving too much for them.

And it was revealed earlier this week that Bayern Munich centre-back De Ligt is “keen” on joining Man Utd and Romano insists the Red Devils “will try to be creative” as they negotiate with the Bavarians over a deal.

Speaking on Caught Offside’s ‘the Debrief’ podcast, Romano said:  “Centre-back, for sure, is one of the priorities. And so I think it’s the most imminent story for Manchester United. They want to bring in a new centre-back.

“Matthijs de Ligt is on the list for sure. Man United already, around Friday, Saturday, made contact with the agents of the player to understand also whether the player was keen to maybe leave Champions League football for the upcoming season, but accept Manchester United’s project.

“What I’m hearing is that Matthijs De Ligt is absolutely keen on this possibility, also knowing when the manager does something important for him to accept Manchester United.

“Matthijs de Ligt looks like the most likely signing for Manchester United in that position, rather than other players who can be too expensive.”

👉 Man Utd ‘agree’ to pay £34m for defender Ten Hag is ‘obsessed’ with as Real Madrid ‘confirm farewell’
👉 Romano reveals Man Utd have been given ‘green light’ to secure first summer signing
👉 Man Utd ‘feeling’ on Greenwood, Sancho ‘returns’ revealed as Ratcliffe targets £85m double sale

Romano added in his Caught Offside column: “Staying with Bayern, they are also pushing to sign Jonathan Tah from Bayer Leverkusen, and they are very optimistic.

“The German centre-back could replace Matthijs de Ligt, as he has given the green light to Manchester United. At the moment, De Ligt is only negotiating with Man United, there are no other clubs involved at the moment because his full focus is on a potential move to Old Trafford.

“De Ligt’s agent Rafaela Pimenta is working on this deal, she is negotiating with Manchester United, and I can guarantee that the contract is not going to be a problem. Man United know De Ligt is on a big salary at Bayern, but also that he’s keen on the move and won’t create an issue there, so personal terms are being negotiated and are advancing.

“United will try to be creative in negotiations with Bayern, who want around €50m for De Ligt. United could try offering something more like €35-40m with add-ons to try a different structure of the deal, let’s see if it’s going to be successful. Personally, I think it would be a very good signing.

“De Ligt is experienced but still young, and he needs a new project where he has 100% trust of everyone at the club. Hasan Salihamidzic signed him for Bayern but then things changed and De Ligt was no longer trusted as a key player; so being reunited with Erik ten Hag could be the best solution for him.

“Remember – another name on United’s list, and the only player they have bid for so far, is Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite. They’ve had a £35m plus add-ons bid rejected, but for sure their appreciation remains, and it depends on Everton because they still want £65-70m for the player. That’s too expensive for United, but if the price changes, they are ready to attack the situation.

“Even with De Ligt potentially joining, it’s also a possibility for United to go for one more centre-back. It depends on the budget and opportunities but it’s a possibility. In terms of the future of players like Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and many others, it depends on proposals, if they receive good bids. But in general, one more centre-back is a possibility – Branthwaite remains on the list but Man United have no plans to pay £70m, so the only way is if Everton’s price drops.”